bald eagle-haliaeetus leucocephalus

Eagle

Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) or Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Eagle is the common name of many large birds of prey of the Accipitridae family. Most of the sixty species of eagles are from Eurasia and Africa, but two are present in the Everglades – the bald eagle and golden eagle. Due to their immense size and power, eagles are ranked at the top of the food chain as apex predators in the avian world.

Habitat

The golden eagle is the most widely distributed species of eagle. They are best suited to hunting in open areas. The bald eagle can be found in virtually any kind of American wetland habitat including seacoasts, rivers, large lakes or marshes and other large open bodies of water. Both birds tend to avoid developed areas and are most commonly found in habitats with minimal human disturbance.

Size & Appearance

Eagles are large powerfully build birds of prey, with a heavy head and beak. Most eagles are larger than other raptors aside from some vultures. They have very large, hooked beaks, strong muscular legs and powerful talons. Thanks to their extremely large pupils, eagles minimize light diffraction resulting in extremely powerful eyesight. This enables them to spot prey from very long distances. Females of all known eagle species are larger than males.

Diet

Eagles hunt from the sky, using their superior eyesight to spot their prey and their powerful beaks and talons to catch and eat. The golden eagle preys on many small and medium-sized animals, particularly rabbit and squirrels, but is also known to hunt larger animals such as foxes and goats. The bald eagle feeds primarily on fish that they swoop down and grab with their talons.

Fun Facts

  • The bald eagle is noted for having flown with the heaviest verified load carried by any flying bird when an eagle was seen flying with a 15 lb. mule deer fawn.
  • The bald eagle is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America.
  • The golden eagle is the national bird of five countries – Austria, Germany, Albania, Mexico and Kazakhstan.
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